BEEK'S BLOG: Optical illusion in left field

06/14/2013 6:01 PM

06/14/2013 6:03 PM

Before you read too far in this blog entry, go to the bottom of the page and play the embedded video, then ask yourself how you’d score the play.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

That’s Bakersfield’s Steve Selsky hitting the drive to deep left-center, and Modesto’s Brian Humphries chasing the ball. So, as the official scorer, do you rule this a hit or an error.

You’d be wrong in both cases, because contrary to what the video appears to show, Humphries caught the ball.

What appears to be the ball tumbling to rest on the warning track is actually a paper cone drinking cup, which Humphries steps on and flips into the air as he makes the catch. If you replay the video and pause it as the white object appears, there is a frame or two in which it’s evident the “ball” is a drinking cup.

The play, which occurred in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game, caused quite a stir in the press box and in both dugouts because of the appearance of the ball-shaped object.

The Bakersfield coaches called out to their bullpen to ask if the ball was caught, and Humphries was questioned by his teammates upon returning to the dugout.

Humphries laughed when he saw the video for the first time following Friday’s batting practice, finally understanding why the catch came into question.

But when asked about the catch immediately after Thursday’s game, Humphries said that the object in question probably was a cup.

“It’s ironic because in the last half-inning (Trevor) Story told me to go out and get the loose ball in left-center,” Humphries said. “I told him it wasn’t a ball, but a cup, and on the play I guess the ball happened to go right over the cup.

“I did catch the ball, then (centerfielder Tyler) Massey picked up the cup. People in the dugout were asking me if I caught the ball. We have those cylinder cups in the dugout. I was in the on-deck circle the previous inning and saw what looked like a ball already out there.”

So for your viewing pleasure, the video:

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